Guillen gives Varitek credit for no-no
One day after, KC reflects on history-making moment at Fenway
BOSTON -- Left-hander Jon Lester got the no-hit glory, but the Royals' Jose Guillen was thinking about another Red Sox player during the afterglow on Tuesday.
"You never want to see a no-hitter go against you like that, but, unfortunately, that situation happened," Guillen said. "I give a lot of credit to the pitcher, but most of the credit I give to Jason Varitek."
Varitek, who caught Lester's no-hitter on Monday night, became the first in history to catch four no-hitters in his career. He was behind the plate for Clay Buchholz's no-hitter last September, for Derek Lowe's in '02 and for Hideo Nomo's in '01.
That doesn't surprise Guillen.
"He one of the smartest guys, the smartest catcher," Guillen said. "He's the one that got that pitching staff going that way about [its] business.
"You want to guess and you're looking for a pitch, it's like Jason is reading your mind. And the pitchers listen to him about the pitch he wants in a certain situation. You think, 'OK, I'm going to take a pitch,' and here you go, he comes with a strike there; and you want to swing, he comes with a breaking pitch."
Varitek, the Red Sox captain, has been with them since 1997, and he has caught the most games in club history, 1,179.
"He's a big value to this team, and they should be proud of what they have there," Guillen said. "He's a special guy. That's a lot of work to do to be a catcher. It's not just catching the ball and throwing it back to the pitcher.
"You've got to be pretty smart and know the situation and, from what I understand, he's a big student of the game. He studies every hitter and he gets in your head. He's pretty special."
Guillen came the closest to getting a hit against Lester, but his sinking liner in the fourth inning was plucked by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
"I didn't hit it hard, I hit it pretty much off the end of the bat," Guillen said. "I really thought that ball was going to drop."
The Royals' Mark Grudzielanek said the possibility of a no-hitter really didn't hit him until after he was pulled out of the game in the seventh inning with the score 7-0.
"I wasn't even thinking about a no-hitter, but when we came up in the seventh or eighth, I thought, 'OK, we've got to do this right now,'" he said. "It's a weird feeling, as far as being on the other side of a no-hitter. A strange feeling."
Royals manager Trey Hillman didn't really consider the possibility "of being on the wrong side of history" until after the eighth inning.
"But I was still hopeful, because we had a different hitter in there for him to see in [Alberto] Callaspo, who is typically more patient," Hillman said. "But that's tough duty when a guy's got that kind of stuff."
With the 37-year-old Grudzielanek being rested, Callaspo batted in his spot. He whistled a ground ball foul, but Lester struck him out to end the game.
Royals catcher Miguel Olivo wasn't thinking no-hitter.
"Not really, because my last two at-bats, I thought I was going to get a hit," Olivo said. "I felt very comfortable, but he got everything together. He was really nasty, he never repeated the same pitch to me in any at-bat."
Olivo was on the other side of a no-hitter in 2006, catching Anibal Sanchez's gem for Florida against Arizona.
"I want to catch another one," Olivo said. "Maybe two more."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.